How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver or using hotwiring method

With the summers right around the corner you might need to get your riding lawn mower out of the garage in order to get some work done on the lawn. But wait, you seem to have lost or broken the key of the lawnmower and require some other method to get it started. We will tell you the method as to How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver or using hotwiring methode.  

Well fear on my friend, are comprehensive guide on “how to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver” is it at your service.

Riding lawn mowers have an ignition key due to two vital reasons. The first being that the key acts as a safety feature and the second reason being that it acts like a preventive safety device. In case your key gets lost or broken and you have no idea as to how to start a riding lawn mower especially when using a screwdriver then just follow the skips provided below and you will be good to go.

Method 1; Starting a Riding Mower Using a Screwdriver

  1. First engage mower’s brake and then disengage cutting blades
  2. You need to open the hood of the mower and locate the ignition oil plus battery
  3. Next up you need to locate the small box which is placed on the side of engine compartment
  4. Use a screwdriver for bridge mechanism
  5. You have to work on the space between starter and solenoid using the screwdriver as bridge in order to engage the lawn mower
  6. Touch both connectors simultaneously using the end of two-head screwdriver
  7.  The lawnmower will start eventually
  8. For your own safety make sure to wear rubber gloves

Method 2; Starting a Riding Mower Using a Screwdriver

Set of tools in a tool kit isolated
  1. Use a flat head screwdriver for this method
  2. Place screwdriver in the mower’s keyhole
  3. Rotate the screwdriver in the hole same as you would rotate the key

These methods are quite easy and on following them you will successfully start the mower on using a screwdriver. Plus, method 2 works quite well on Cub Cadet and Craftsman models.

Method 3; Hotwiring the lawn mower in order to bypass the key switch

When hot-wiring a lawnmower, you need to be super conscious.  Some equipment that you might need for this method includes; rubber gloves, battery post cleaner, jumper cables, and pliers.

The thing with rubber gloves is that they keep you safe from electric current, as rubber is a bad conductor. With the rubber gloves you wouldn’t have to suffer from electric shocks from the mower’s battery. So, make sure not to wear rubber gloves while hot-wiring the mower.

Once you have collected all your safety equipment and tools, then you can start following the instructions below. Steps to follow in order to bypass the key switch are:

1. Find the Solenoid:

First and foremost, you have to look for the solenoid. The solenoid is a small box which is hooked on to one side of the engine compartment. You need to hook the live wire from the battery on to the starter. Its recommended that you only use this method only if the solenoid is dead and you have lost the key to the lawn mower.

2. Starting:

First make sure the brake is on. Then take both the sides of the cable, touch it to battery’s bolts (the battery which is hooked to the solenoid).

On doing this there will be a spark and the engine will start.

3. Stopping:

Now you will have to stop it as the kill switch isn’t going to work. For this you will have to turn the throttle all the way down until it switches off. Again, we recommend that you say super cautious.

Method 4; Installing a band new ignition switch

In case all the methods mentioned above don’t work for you or you don’t know how to follow these methods then we have one last option for you.

For this method you will have to take the mower to the repairing shop where they will install a brand-new ignition switch for you. As sometimes manufacturers don’t provide any replacement keys so this might be the last option for you.

The mechanic will replace the old ignition switch with a new one. You can then use your new keys to get the riding lawn mower started.

Important Warning and Tips to Keep in Mind

Along with all the methods mentioned above we have also listed some tips that you should keep in mind in order to keep the lawn mower maintained and running.

  1. Make sure to place your lawnmower in a safe and proper place, this will help maintain the performance
  2. Make sure to not keep the mower outdoors. Drastic weather conditions might rust your machine up. You can use a cover or store the mower in shed to keep it safe.
  3. It’s recommended that you make use of the parts approved by the manufacturer for replacement
  4. Make sure to properly inspect and clean the ventilation areas
  5. All remove the keys from ignition when you turn the machine off


With riding lawn mowers lasting for quite some time one is likely to lose its keys. Plus, they are best at shaping and cutting grass so you might be ready to try the methods we have listed to get the machine started.

With all the instruction and details mentioned we are sure that you will definitely understand that How to start a riding lawn mower with a screwdriver or using hotwiring method

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